Green Trails pays back
Over the years we have become more and more aware of our responsibility to society and our environment at large. We started as a tour company but aspire to be more than that. We really want to make a difference in the lives of our guests and to the people, we work with. The people we work with include the people who work for our company but also the people in the communities we cooperate with. Starting last year we support local homestays and involve ourselves in these communities. We strongly realise that tourism often is a double-edged sword. We really have the duty to try to make this a “single-edged sword”. Green Trails pays back.
Tourism and development
Apart from supporting local homestays we also want to showcase the unique traditions and customs of the different ethnic groups we work with. Even though few people in hill tribe villages nowadays wear traditional dress it doesn’t make the visit less interesting than before. Many villages have developed in the last 20-30 years. There are less traditional houses than before as well. Tourism has played its part in this development but is certainly not the only factor. The quality of life in Thailand of people, in general, has improved notably and the hill tribes also have benefitted from economic prosperity. There is still a lot of work to be done. Hill triple are still relatively disadvantaged. Their culture is under threat as is the case with indigenous or minority culture around the world. We do our utmost best to make a difference.
Over the years we have started to develop educational tours for schools and universities. We work with several companies that send us groups from international schools as well as schools and universities from the United States and Australia. In 2018 we also started to work with USAC, United States Abroad Consortium. USAC has provided university students with affordable, valuable study abroad programs. It contributed to the internationalization of universities in the U.S. and abroad. They currently have more than 50 programs in 27 countries. Students from any university are welcome to participate.
Teambuilding and lectures
We customise our educational tours to the requirements of a specific institution. Tours range from one day to five days or even longer. They can take place in Chiang Mai itself of any other town or city in the North of Thailand. City tours usually contain an active element such as walking or cycling or include a samlor (bicycle taxi) ride. Most tours though take place in one of the tribal communities we work with.
Short tours include language lessons, some community activity such as planting or harvesting rice or corn, meetings with local students and with adult villagers, local ceremonies and other village life immersion activities. Longer tours usually include the construction of a project that is useful for the community such as children playground, water containers and so on.
We take groups there to learn but also to give back. We are always looking for ways to improve the impact we have in a community and how to maximize the benefits for that community. This requires a lot of creativity on our side but there is nothing that we enjoy more than that.
Green Trails pays back to Chiang Mai
We love Chiang Mai. It is our hometown. Since 2015 Chiang Mai is listed on the “tentative” list of World Heritage Sites of UNESCO. This article describes the bid of Chiang Mai to become listed as a World Heritage Site. We support this effort. Our sister brand Chiang Mai a la Carte pays attention to the less well-known sites such as the Gymkhana Club, McKean Rehabilitation Center (now McKean Senior Center) and others that should be incorporated in this scheme. This is something we really want to expand on.
Chiang Mai on Three Wheels
In 2016 we started a project named “Chiang Mai on Three Wheels”. Since the 1930s the samlor, a three-wheeled bicycle taxi, has been an important means of transportation in Chiang Mai. We consider the samlor (meaning ‘three wheels” in Thai) also a Chiang Mai heritage. The number of samlors has diminished over the past decades. There are only less than 70 left in Chiang Mai, most of them driven by men over 60 years old. Chiang Mai on Three Wheels not only aims to preserve the samlor but also supports the drivers.